Playing Pokemon Go has brought out the nerdy side of me. It’s also gone and brought out a lot of nostalgia, as well as a desire to go through all my old Pokemon cards. When I was little and when I collected them, my two favourites were always Ponyta and Dratini. I managed to collect multiple Rapidash and Dragonair cards, but I never found a Dragonite, so for a long time, I’d forgotten about that Pokemon.
It wasn’t until I hatched a Dratini from an egg in Pokemon Go that I remembered that Dragonite was a thing. Because I instantly evolved that Dratini into a Dragonair.
Before I start going on about Dragonite, let’s talk about Dragonair.
Dragonair’s awesome. It’s this slender, beautiful snake-like dragon thing that has an air or mystery about it. Dragonair totally looks like something a Dratini would mature into, keeping the same colour scheme and having more distinct features, while also becoming more powerful. Dragonair makes sense.
Dragonite does not.
Just… look at it. How is that orange thing related to a couple of incredibly slender, delicate beings? It’s a completely different colour, it’s all fat and bloated and it retains almost none of the things that make Dratini and Dragonair what they are, aside from the name. You look at Dratini and Dragonair, they’re blue serpents with a mystic orb motif. Dragonite is large and bulky and not serpent-y at all. The head shape is similar, but not even the scutes running down its chest are similar to Dragonair and Dratini, with lined scales rather than a flat colour.
It’s almost like they’re completely different Pokemon.
It doesn’t even look cool. Dragonite is big and round. Like a Charizard who got addicted to ice cream and really let himself go after being beaten by a bunch of Average Joes.
Dragonite doesn’t make any sense in other ways too. Apparently it can fly around the world in 16 hours. Which, if you do the maths, is about Mach 2, faster than the speed of sound, assuming the Pokemon planet is about the size of Earth. On tiny wings. Sure, Dragonair can fly too (and its wing-ear things expand), but Dragonair can control weather and stuff and doesn’t fly at 2500 kilometers per hour. Sure, it’s Pokemon and nothing really makes much sense, but the super speed thing makes no sense when you look at Dragonite. It could certainly be a kindly Pokemon that rescues lost sailors, but Dragonite doesn’t have any traits that suggest that it can fly so fast.
But Dragonite is also an all-round pretty strong Pokemon. Not the strongest, but very versatile since it can learn a lot of moves. Dragonite has been useful since day one. It’s only really Ice Pokemon who can truly fuck it up, although Fairy types will also cause a Dragonite problems. (Really though, Fairy was just added to give Dragon type Pokemon in general a real weakness.) But later versions of Dragonite come with an ability called Multiscale which reduces damage done to it by half if it has full health. Even if Dragonite is slightly slow (speed matters because it determines who attacks first), taking half damage even from x4 ice attacks is strong as heck.
In Generation 1 though, Dragonite was annoying because it knew Wrap, which basically immobilized your enemies’ Pokemon. Not too much of a problem on a weak Dratini, but on a bulky, high damage-dealing, ugly son of a bitch? That’s just mean. Getting your ass kicked by an orange Barney the Dinosaur knockoff.
The icing on the rotten cake though? Charizard looks more dragon-y than Dragonite does. I get why Charizard isn’t a dragon type in early games, because a fire-dragon type that you can get early on would be insanely overpowered, but at least Charizard actually looks the part! The Dratini line was the first line of Dragon type Pokemon, and Dragonite is what we got? A pity, really.
Oh, last but not least, Dragonite’s shiny is pretty mediocre. While Dratini and Dragonair go nice and pink, Dragonite is a sickly green colour. Not even a cool neon green to go with the neon pink. It’s almost like khaki.
Am I being cruel about this one Pokemon? Probably. Does Dragonite deserve it? Probably not. But Dragonite’s a fictional character, so what it may or may not think doesn’t matter.
Screw you, Dragonite.